a man climbing to get to an aim and the word "idiomS"

Idioms: goals

Worksheet overview

This ESL worksheet is dedicated to 12 idioms that are used to talk about goals, ambitions and efforts people make to achieve them. It can be used at the beginning of the year to discuss New Year’s resolutions. It includes plenty of communicative activities so that students can learn and practise them. Related worksheets: “Idioms: New Year”, “Phrasal verbs: change and innovation”, “Idioms: challenges”, “Phrasal verbs: success”, “Idioms: ambition”.

The first activity introduces 6 idioms (e.g. lay the foundations, eyes on the prize, go the extra mile) through a dialogue about 2 friends’ goals for the year. Students work out the meaning of the idioms and match them to their definitions. To practise the target vocabulary, students are given 3 questions to use as conversation starters. Next, students are given 6 sentences, each including 1 idiom. They work out and choose the correct definition of each idiom (the end justifies the means, move heaven and earth, fall short). After that students complete a practice task where they need to replace part of 4 sentences given with the correct idiom.

The last 2 activities are speaking activities: first students complete the beginnings of a few sentences given with their personal experiences and ideas and discuss their sentences with a partner. Then they write their top 3 goals for this year and how they plan to achieve each one.

This ESL worksheet, together with the conversation cards can be used in various classes in order to practise these goals-related idioms. It would work great as an addition to lessons about the holidays, plans for the future, change, ambitions, challenges


Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

This worksheet works well in combination with the following lesson plans

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